The Big Guide To OTT

The Big Guide To OTT is a Themed Content Collection that provides deep insights into the technology that is enabling a new media industry. It is a very large scale body of content that will publish during 2023 and will exhaustively explore the technology and business models of OTT and streaming services.

As OTT delivery grows, driven by both consumer demand and content provider strategy, there are many adjustments to manage. They include new production approaches, scaling content distribution, personalising, protecting, and monetising content, and assuring audience QoE.

Content providers are delivering a mix of live, linear, and on-demand content. Business models are blending - subscription with advertising and direct-to-consumer with service aggregation. The internet-enabled OTT delivery model is driving the media industry through a giant transformation.

There are many broadcast disciplines to leverage in OTT – the concept of “broadcast-grade streaming” means streaming should match broadcast’s capacity for highly consistent, highly scalable delivery of high-resolution content at low latency. There are also new disciplines for content providers to embrace, like delivering highly personalized content and building new relationships with consumers and ISPs.

The OTT technology domain builds on core broadcast distribution disciplines and adapts them to internet-based delivery. New contribution methods, ultra-low latency encoding, and high speed broadband streaming, could mean that ‘streaming-grade’ will become a new gold standard for content delivery. But the fixed and mobile broadband networks we rely on, and the myriad of devices we use, mean that we need to work differently to manage content accessibility and quality. So while the content may be largely the same, there are significant differences to manage between the worlds of OTT and OTA.

The Broadcast Bridge has been covering OTT since it began. The Big Guide To OTT re-visits and updates our extensive coverage of the subject.

The Big Guide To OTT is an eleven part series. Each part tackles a different theme and there are multiple articles per part:

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Part 1. Back To The Beginning

AVAILABLE NOW - Download Part 1 HERE

Article 1 : The Principles & Terminology Of The OTT Ecosystem
A description of the OTT Ecosystem from transmission to consumption, with discussion of the differences between push and pull systems, video distribution methods and the terminology of Live, Linear and Video On Demand TV.

Article 2 : The Main Components Of The OTT Ecosystem
We describe the various elements of OTT systems including; intelligent ingest, ABR conversion, DRM & DAI, Packagers, Edge Processing, ISP’s & Internet Exchange Providers, QoE monitoring and client applications.

Article 3 : The OTT Lexicon
The world of streaming is defined by acronyms like SVOD, AVOD, FAST, OTT and more. But this leaves gaps and confusion in what is included in our OTT services... so here we review how we describe ourselves in the streaming industry.

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Part 2. Content Origination

AVAILABLE NOW - Download Part 2 HERE

Article 1 : Content Origination
As broadcasters adopt OTT delivery, the need to understand the building blocks is more important now than ever. File storage, JIT management, encryption and low latency delivery must work coherently and efficiently long before streaming can start.

Article 2 : OTT’s Unique Storage Requirements
The storage requirements for live OTT and VOD are quite different and this has a major impact on the storage technology employed. Storage needs to be optimized for both write and access times as well as capacity. 

Article 3 : The Importance Of CDN Selection To Broadcast-Grade Streaming
Multiple CDN providers are required to optimize streaming and playout, but deciding how to use them is not as simple as it may first appear.

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Part 3. Customer Experience (CX)

AVAILABLE NOW - Download Part 3 HERE

Article 1 : Personalizing Content For Maximum Impact
Personalized viewing dynamics tune the experience more precisely for a consumer which in turn increases commercial value for advertisers and OTT operators.

Article 2 : How D2C Streamers Are Evolving The OTT Viewing Experience
What are D2C streamers planning for our future viewing experience?

Article 3 : How Devices Drive OTT Streaming
One of the biggest challenges facing D2C streamers is the plethora of devices used for streaming content. These devices have an impact on content production, content delivery, content monetization, and customer management.

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Part 4. Managing Latency

AVAILABLE NOW - Download Part 4 HERE

Article 1 : Optimizing Encoding & Contribution For Live OTT
Optimizing contribution for OTT feeds is more complex than traditional broadcasting due to the internet compliance required. Although TCP/IP provides a solid base to transmit contribution circuits, it can introduce latency.

Article 2 : Achieving Cost-Effective Ultra-Low Latency Live Streaming For FuboTV
Our partner Zixi discuss how vMPVD FuboTV solved the technical and commercial challenges of delivering a first class live sports streaming service using SDVP and the Zixi Protocol.

Article 3 : How To Achieve Broadcast-Grade Latency For Live Video Streaming
Achieving ‘broadcast-grade-streaming’ sets a latency target of 5s - no easy task with current norms of about 30-60 seconds. We delve into the standards and cutting edge thinking involved in trying to reach this goal.

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Part 5. Assuring Viewer QoE

AVAILABLE NOW - Download Part 5 HERE

Article 1 : Assuring QoE From The Network Side
What does quality assurance look like for OTT services, and how are network-side monitoring solutions supporting the continued drive towards excellent QoE (Quality of Experience)?

Article 2 : Monitoring From The Network Side
Examining the two types of network monitoring available to us, relative priorities for the points of measurement, and how the video platforms contributing to OTT services are evolving to support OTT quality at scale.

Article 3 : Understanding The Client-Side OTT Customer Experience
Client side monitoring not only helps detect problems but also allows broadcasters to anticipate if errors are about to occur for their OTT streams.

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Part 6. Internet Infrastructure

AVAILABLE NOW - Download Part 6 HERE

Article 1 : Internet Exchanges & The Growth Of OTT
Demand for internet connectivity continues to grow rapidly. Internet exchange providers are now part of our critical infrastructure and their integration with ISPs and content providers is defining CDN and network expansion.

Article 2 : Telco Access Networks (& The Growth Of OTT)
Delivering high availability and reliable data to the final mile requires replacing the whole copper delivery infrastructure with fiber. Live OTT demands high bandwidth at peak times, requiring us to rethink our approach to caching.

Article 3 : ISPs And The Growth Of OTT Video
ISPs are experiencing significant growth in bandwidth consumption with the uptake of OTT video services and growth in connected devices per household. ISPs must navigate the path of making successful investments in their networks that support OTT operators’ goals and consumers’ expectations.

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Part 7. Content Delivery Networks

AVAILABLE NOW - Download Part 7 HERE

Article 1 : CDN For Live And VOD
CDNs are much more than just high-speed links between ISPs. They form a complete ecosystem of storage and processing, here we look at the different workloads for Live and VOD to better understand how they operate.

Article 2 : Evolving CDNs To Improve OTT
To attract and retain an audience, OTT services must provide excellent customer experience by delivering content at the highest possible quality.

Article 3 : How Open Caching Aims To Support Broadcast Grade Streaming
Open Caching, a specification created by the Streaming Video Alliance, promises Content Providers a standardized CDN model that delivers a better QoE and a possible way for ISPs to gain efficiencies and new revenues.

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Part 8. Broadcast Grade Streaming

AVAILABLE NOW - Download Part 8 HERE

Article 1 : National OTT And Streaming
Broadcasters providing OTT and streaming are demanding a new scalable internet delivery service that operates at the scale and quality of existing broadcast services.

Article 2 : Scaling OTT
Broadcast-grade television presents some interesting challenges for OTT and video streaming especially when peak demand requires infrastructure scaling.

Article 3 : Ensuring Live Streaming Achieves Broadcast-Grade
A new generation of broadcast service providers is appearing to deliver broadcast grade media over the internet directly to viewers homes for high quality 4K+.

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Part 9. Quality Of Experience

AVAILABLE NOW - Download Part 9 HERE

Article 1 : Minimizing OTT Churn Rates Through Viewer Engagement
A D2C streaming service requires an understanding of satisfaction with the service – the quality of it, the ease of use, the style of use – which requires the right technology and a focused information-gathering approach. Extended length article. 

Article 2 : The Business Cost Of Poor Streaming Quality
Poor quality streaming loses viewers at an alarming rate especially when we consider the unintended consequences of poor error reporting on streaming players. Extended length article.

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Part 10. Monetization & ROI

COMING SOON!

Article 1 : Improving Monetization Through Addressable Advertising
OTT offers an amazing promise – to significantly increase the return on advertising spend by targeting consumers more effectively.

Article 2 : (Re)bundling Is Coming – OTT Is Retransforming The Media Industry
OTT is driving the next great rebundle. After years of D2C streaming, unbundling and fragmentation, we now have so many D2C Apps that consumers are looking for simplicity and convenience again.

Article 3 : The Future Of Sports Media & Fan Engagement
This is a story about the COO of a media business, that shines a light on the thinking at the leading edge of the media industry, where the balance shift from Linear Broadcasting to D2C Streaming is firmly underway.

Article 4 : The Battle To Beat Content Piracy
OTT operators need heightened awareness of how to manage the threat of piracy. But OTT also offers a promise: with the right legal framework, the available technical solutions could bring video piracy to dramatically lower levels.

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Part 11. Sustainability

COMING SOON!

Article 1 : Improving OTT’s Sustainability With More JIT Capabilities
In order to be sustainable OTT services must be energy-efficient. As with other production processes, just in time (JIT) principles need to be maximised to find new and fundamental efficiencies for OTT content delivery. Extended length article.

Article 2 : Sustainability Of Streaming: How Does OTT Compare With OTA?
An extended length in-depth exploration of the latest information we have about the sustainability credentials of OTA vs. OTT as laid out in the UK’s OFCOM report on the issue, what goals we should set for ourselves for the future and what some of the leading sustainability proponents in the OTA and OTT video distribution ecosystems are currently thinking about and doing to help. Extended length article.
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